Sun, 27 Dec 2009 International

How 'al-qaeda' flight bomber was subdued

Abdulfarouk Umar Abdulmutallab, the suspect. Photo credit: Thisdayonline.comAbdulfarouk Umar Abdulmutallab, the suspect. Photo credit:

The passenger who tackled Abdulfarouk Umar Abdulmutallab when he attempted to detonate explosives on Delta Northwest Airlines Flight 253 said yesterday that he's “happy” to be alive.

Jasper Schuringa, a video director and producer from Amsterdam while telling CNN how he helped the cabin crew to subdue Abdulmut-allab, that he heard a sound that reminded him of a firecracker and someone yelling, “Fire! Fire!”

But he was only certain something was wrong when he saw smoke. He saw Abdulmutallab's pants open and he was holding a burning object between his legs.

“I pulled the object from him and tried to extinguish the fire with my hands and threw it away,” Schuringa said.

He said he then screamed for water and pulled Abdulmutallab out of his seat and dragged him to the front of the plane.

Schuringa told CNN that Abdulmutallab seemed out of it and “was staring into nothing.”

To ensure the suspect did not have other explosives on his body, Schuringa stripped off Abdulmutallab's clothes. He then handcuffed the alleged attacker with the help of a crew member.

Schuringa said the other passengers applauded as he returned to his seat and that he sustained minor injuries during the take down.
“My hands are pretty burned. I am fine,” he said. “I am shaken up. I am happy to be here.”

Federal law enforcement and airline security sources said Abdulmutallab was immediately taken into custody following the incident and treated for second- and third-degree burns on his thighs.
Law enforcement and airline security sources also told CNN that no other suspicious materials were found and that the suspect only had carry-on luggage.

Passengers on board the flight were interviewed by law enforcement agents before leaving the airport.

White House spokesman Bill Burton told CNN that from his holiday vacation in Hawaii, President Obama told security advisers “that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel.”

Passenger Schuringa, who was sitting on the opposite side of the plane to the man, said he did not hesitate to act when he realised something was not right.

“Suddenly we heard a bang and then there was smoke and fire and I just knew this is a terrorist attack.

“I didn't hesitate a moment, just wanted to stop it with whatever I can do.”

The Dutch counter-terrorism agency NCTB said the suspect boarded a KLM flight from Lagos to Amsterdam's Schipol airport, then connected to the Delta Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit.
A preliminary investigation found that security procedures were followed correctly, and the man had a valid US visa.

The NCTB said in a statement it could not rule out the potential for dangerous items to pass through security, especially objects that current security technology cannot detect.
London's Metropolitan Police said its officers were liaising with the US authorities.